Well, today's ride was another adventure in two parts: the Ladies Auxillary decided to opt for a shorter route and later start time, while the male crew stuck to the scheduled Poway-Rincon-Poway route and 8AM start time. Kind of... since the 8AM group was just me I decided to Go Rogue and add some miles. I'll give my report but Mary Ann or Elizabeth will have to add their own description separately.
The first section kept to the plan: north over Lake Hodges and then up the hill to Valley Center, but at that point I figured a stop at Java Journey was in order. Visited with Soledad at JJ and enjoyed the sunshine with a dark roast and a blueberry muffin. Then, instead of Rincon, it was on to Lilac where the tailwind headed me towards Couser Canyon. On the way there I decided to stop and investigate the Farm Stand at Morning Star Ranch...
That place turned out to be the tip of a huge iceberg: turns out the ranch is part of a religious community that grows organic produce and has some sort of millenarian philosophy. One of the folks there called himself Raya and offered samples of the drinks they serve: the Green Drink, Grape-Hibiscus, and Yerba Maté. It's great spot for cyclists to stop, unless you decide to join up and divest yourself of all worldly possesions. As I rode on towards to Couser the colors of the landscape seemed to become more vibrant (maybe that Green Drink was kicking in) and I decided to give the ride a Theme Song.
The Couser Canyon section was perfect, no traffic and a swift descent through the oaks down to Hwy 76. After that there was nothing else to do but continue north on Rice Canyon Road, which was also beautiful, lots of hawks, lilacs in bloom, farm animals, more oaken canopies to ride under, and gentle rollers.
After passing through Rainbow it was time to head south on Old 395. Oddly, the southwind that had pushed me north now began to switch directions, after briefly pushing into a headwind I found that I had a tailwind for the southbound trip. Now that doesn't happen often enough I think.
Along the way I stopped again, this time at the Pala Taco Shop. Wow, they make a very good carnitas taco. I asked about a menu item called birria and got the lowdown on the recipe (a spicy Mexican meat stew - in this case made with beef) and was offered a sample. Verdict: Excellent! Next time VVV rides Old 395, we're going to stop at Pala Taco Shop (and they won't try to get all your worldly possesions.)
The rest of the ride back went quickly and I made one last stop to sit on a bench along the shore of Lake Hodges to munch a power bar and watch the Western Grebes' mating dance.
Next week will be the first March ride, which means Group Choice for the route...
Date: Tuesday March 1, 2011
The 'Anything Can Happen Day' Ride... group choice for route and mileage. (This one is usually easy... Stephen sez so)
I'll get the rest of the March ride schedule done soon... look for a kinder and gentler selection next month.